Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar arrives for a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (not pictured) as part of a NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium October 25, 2019. Virginia Mayo/Pool via REUTERS
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday it was too early to say that a ceasefire in Libya had collapsed after Khalifa Haftar, commander of eastern Libyan forces, failed to sign a binding truce at talks this week.
The talks in Moscow aimed to halt Haftar’s nine-month campaign to seize the Libyan capital, Tripoli, from forces aligned with the internationally recognised government of Fayez al-Serraj.
Since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, the North African country has been in turmoil, with outside powers providing support to rival factions. Turkey backs Serraj’s government.
“We cannot say that the ceasefire has collapsed, it’s much too early for such an interpretation,” Akar told reporters in Ankara, adding that Ankara was waiting for the outcome of efforts by Moscow, which has given support to Haftar.
Turkey has sent a training and cooperation team which is now active in Libya, Akar said.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey would “teach a lesson” to Haftar if his attacks against the Tripoli-based government continued.
On Sunday, Germany will host a summit on Libya involving the rival camps, their main foreign backers and representatives from the United Nations, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Turkey and Italy.
Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans